Robert C. Pianta

Dean ; Novartis Professor of Education; Founding Director, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 1986
  • M.A., University of Connecticut, 1978
  • B.S., University of Connecticut, 1977

Robert Pianta, PhD, is Dean of the Curry School of Education, Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education, Professor of Psychology, and founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia. Dr. Pianta‘s research and policy interests focus on the intersection of education and human development. 

In particular, his work has been influential in advancing the conceptualization of teacher-student interactions and relationships and documenting their contributions to students’ learning and development. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 articles, 50 chapters, and 10 books and led research and training grants totaling over $60 million.  He is past Editor of the Journal of School Psychology and associate editor for AERA Open. 

Dr. Pianta has led research and development on measurement and improvement tools that help teachers interact with students more effectively and that are used widely in the United States and around the world.  Dr. Pianta received a BS and an MA in Special Education from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. He began his career as a special education teacher and joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1986.

An internationally recognized expert in both early childhood education and K-12 teaching and learning, Dr. Pianta regularly consults with federal agencies, foundations, universities, and governments. He was named a Fellow of the American Education Research Association and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota in 2016.

Sample Introduction


Robert Pianta, Ph.D., is the Dean of the Curry School of Education, Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.  He is also Chairman of the Jefferson Education Accelerator Board of Directors and founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.  Pianta's research and policy interests focus on the measurement and production of effective teaching in classrooms from preschool to high school. 

After receiving a B.S. and M.A. in Special Education from the University of Connecticut, Pianta began his career as a special education teacher.  Upon completing a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, he joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1986.  A nationally recognized expert in both early childhood education and K-12 teaching and learning, Pianta regularly consults with federal agencies, foundations, and universities, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.